The Rise of National Oil Companies and the Demise of Big Oil

So often I see and hear that "Big Oil" is responsible for the high oil prices, or that Big Oil has a monopoly on the principle type of energy we use and on the sources of this energy. \n\nMy experience as an international explorer for oil, suggests that it is not the oil companies, such as Shell, BP, Exxon et al, but the National Oil Companies, and Nations which are the resource holders who are in control of this resource now. Furthermore, the multinational oil companies are losing control of their destiny as they loose access to the areas they need to explore for oil and gas.\n\nIn many cases the loss of access is political such as in the United States and Venezuela where national policy has excluded the multinationals from exploring. Or it is economic such as in Nigeria where Chinese and Indian oil companies are acquiring exploration licenses. In Nigeria, the national oil companies of Asia are acquiring access rights not based on the net present value or other fundamental economic measures of merit but to ensure their national economies have access to these important natural resources. By contrast the multinationals have failed to compete for these opportunities not based on the geologic potential to find giant oil fields but because the contracts established by the resource holders are uneconomic for "Big Oil" even at $ 100 per barrel prices. \n\nAny reasonable person then should see: \n1. The idea of "Big Oil" as an omnipotent Industry is fallacious\n2. The masters of the economies of Asia do not see any near term potential to replace oil. These builders of the new economies clearly do not believe in wind, solar or other non-competitive green energy schemes \n

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
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Afghanistan is the most depressed country on earth

No, depression is not just a type of 'affluenza' – poor people in conflict zones are more likely candidates

Image: Our World in Data / CC BY
Strange Maps
  • Often seen as typical of rich societies, depression is actually more prevalent in poor, conflict-ridden countries
  • More than one in five Afghans is clinically depressed – a sad world record
  • But are North Koreans really the world's 'fourth least depressed' people?
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Banned books: 10 of the most-challenged books in America

America isn't immune to attempts to remove books from libraries and schools, here are ten frequent targets and why you ought to go check them out.

Nazis burn books on a huge bonfire of 'anti-German' literature in the Opernplatz, Berlin. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Culture & Religion
  • Even in America, books are frequently challenged and removed from schools and public libraries.
  • Every year, the American Library Association puts on Banned Books Week to draw attention to this fact.
  • Some of the books they include on their list of most frequently challenged are some of the greatest, most beloved, and entertaining books there are.
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  • Oumuamua, a quarter-mile long asteroid tumbling through space, is Hawaiian for "scout", or "the first of many".
  • It was given this name because it came from another solar system.
  • Some claimed 'Oumuamua was an alien technology, but there's no actual evidence for that.